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Bitter Blast In Midwest; How Cold Will It Get?; Thousands Of Flights Canceled; Back to Business In Washington; Iraq Offensive Against Al Qaeda; Liz Cheney Dropping Out; Corvette's New Dashcam

Aired January 6, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Temperatures that we're talking about are deadly.

CHIRS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Epic cold. Seventy below in parts of the country. So cold it's deadly and schools are closing all over. How are people coping for the worst freeze in decades? We're going to show you with a front (ph) is headed next.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Runway danger. Two commercial jets skidding off runways over the weekend. And then this, a private plane crashing in Aspen as fliers including celebrities watch in horror. What went wrong?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking overnight. First on CNN, Liz Cheney dropping out of a race for the Senate. Her bid drive a huge wedge in her family. We're live with the latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday, January 6th, 6:00 in the east. Listen to this, 140 million Americans are waking up in the grip of a history making polar vortexes, translation, a record shattering deep freeze that is literally deadly. Take a look at this, from now through midweek parts of the country will face wind chills as low as 60 below, numbers that haven't been seen in two decades.

The wind chill temps right now look like typos, negative 56 in Duluth, negative 31 in Green Bay. In Nashville, Tennessee, it is 2 degrees. That is colder than Anchorage, Alaska. It's so cold the mayor has made it illegal to drive in Indianapolis right now. Here are the big questions. How are people coping or not right now and where are the next watch areas as the front moves to the deep south and northeast.

Let's get some answers. We're all over the situation literally as only CNN can be. Let's begin with George Howell in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where they actually played a football game last night despite the cold. George, good morning. What's the situation?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. Yes, that little football game between the Packers and 49ers, the 49ers won. As some 77,500 fans who were in that stadium watched it. Thousands of others came out here to tailgate and it was tailgating unlike anything I've seen, Chris. You bring out the frozen burgers, the brats, but what about frozen bots of beer? It was an unusual problem people had out here. Right now it's probably as warm as it will get and it's getting colder.


HOWELL (voice-over): Brutally cold arctic air is spreading a deep freeze over half the country. The frigid blast forcing schools and government offices to close from the Deep South to the north east.

MAYOR GREG BALLARD, INDIANAPOLIS: The temperatures that we're talking about are deadly. This is a combination that is unlike anything we've seen in a long, long time.

HOWELL: Nearly 140 million people will experience wind chill temperatures of zero degrees or below by Wednesday, temperatures the country hasn't seen in decades. In fact, Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta are all colder than Anchorage, Alaska.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their conditions are very bad. Roads are really slippery.

HOWELL: At Sunday's Green Bay Packers game against the 49ers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you can be ready for this kind of cold.

HOWELL: Temperatures felt like a frigid 11 degrees below zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ski goggles, coat, under armor, I got it all.

HOWELL: It's not just the plummeting temperatures. A massive snow storm battering the Midwest dumped up to 16 inches of snow in St. Louis. The iconic St. Louis Arch barely visible under the onslaught of snow.

MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY, ST. LOUIS: This is a dangerous storm. Driving conditions range from difficult to impassable.

HOWELL: In Illinois, the entire basketball team from Southern Illinois University got stranded in the snow. Returning home from a game, their bus caught in the powerful winter storm. The team was stuck on the interstate for six hours before a tow truck was able to dig them out. But there is relief in sight. The sub-zero temperatures and snow will virtually be gone by Wednesday.


HOWELL: You know, this is dangerous weather, this particular area and many others under a wind chill warning. The bottom line is this, as the winds pick up here and the temperatures continue to drop, the less time you're outside and then the less exposure you have of skin to this weather. It's crucial because frostbite is a big concern. Officials are getting that word out as the day goes on and the temperatures drop.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And that can come on much sooner than people actually think, George. Thanks so much, for us in Wisconsin this morning.

So the two questions on everyone's mind today, how much colder can it possibly get and how long will the deep freeze last? Indra Petersons is here this morning. Your flight was canceled to Minnesota due to the weather so you're caught up in this as well -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, really everyone is still caught up. Not only the delays in the north east, but also these temperatures that we're experiencing today. I want to point out. You may have heard the words "particularly dangerous situation" before. Typically we see this with severe weather rated to tornadoes. Today it is due to the risk of dangerous weather thanks to cold temperatures. This is for places like Minneapolis and Sioux Falls.

We've been talking about these temperatures. The threat is there for the maybe as low a negative 65 degrees today. Look at Duluth right now, negative 56. I want to point out, Indianapolis, negative 35. We talked about the fact you're not supposed to be driving in this area. It's not just the temperatures, but it's also for the concern that they have a lot of snow on the ground.

So you're talking about winds as high 30 even 40 miles per hour. People could be trapped in their cars. You don't want them exposed with temperatures like this out there where they could get frostbite in as little as five, 10 minutes out there. Notice, you're maybe thinking Minnesota is cold. It's not this cold typically. Temperatures are a good 40 degrees below normal. This cold air has spread all the way down to the middle sections of the country and into the southeast.

Nashville 40 degrees below normal as their high, their high temperature today only expected to be 10 degrees. Let me drop you down to the southeast. Same thing there, Atlanta actually starting off the morning with some sleet, temperatures there 30 degrees below normal. A lot of you in the northeast saying we're waking up today, it is warm, it is not going to last.

Notice those temperatures are due to a warm front. It is going to get colder by the hour as the cold front makes its through. By tomorrow even in the northeast we'll be talking about temperatures low as negative 10 degree, even as low as negative 30 in Pittsburgh tomorrow. So that danger is spreading even further to the east.

BOLDUAN: You talk about those highs. High is the wrong word to be using when you are looking at those --

PETERSONS: The highs are low for lows.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: The numbers are just staggering. Obviously they're going to be keeping people at home. The other part of this is that they're also going to be keeping thousands of planes on the ground, flight cancellations adding up across the country, stranding passengers. Just today more than 2,600 flights have been canceled. That number obviously is going to get higher.

The caution, though, is justified. Look at this plane that went skidding off the runway at Kennedy Airport in New York, just one example that we do not want to see repeated. That is however where we find Alexandra Field this morning with more on the travel nightmares out there -- Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Travelers just cannot catch a break. Heavy fog in New York City is only contributing to the problems. And in Chicago, a second storm now is causing major delays. The ripple effect is being felt across the country and passengers have been stuck at airports since Friday.


FIELD (voice-over): Hundreds of stranded passengers camped in airports over the weekend hoping to get moving again by this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've missed a whole week's work. I need to adjust to the time back in Millburn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to go home.

FIELD: But the blizzard conditions and icy temps slamming the Midwest and north east are keeping airlines from getting back up to speed.

DANIEL BAKER, CEO OF FLIGHTAWARE.COM: Now we have the storm hitting Chicago that is causing up over 50 percent of flights to be canceled to or from Chicago O'Hare. So travelers all across the country are being impacted by this.

FIELD: A scary moment at O'Hare on Saturday when a plane slipped after its wheel slid off of the tarmac. None of the 145 passengers were hurt. An icy runway at JFK Airport in New York caused this Delta plane to skid into a snow bank. Crews had to tow the plane with passengers on board back to the gate. No one was hurt. Experts say the storm will continue to affect air travelers are warning that it could take several days for airlines to get operations back into the full swing of things.

BAKER: Not only do they need to get the airplanes in the right place, but almost more importantly, they need to get the crew in the right place.

FIELD: According to JetBlue, it's not just weather. The airline's blog points to new pilot rest rules designed to avoid pilot fatigue resulting in they say in fewer JetBlue flights. The airline advises it will take days not hours to finally get people where they are going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to miss two days of a cruise now and I've been standing there for four hours.

FIELD: Once all those canceled flights do return to the skies, experts say airlines will be faced with a lot of displaced passengers and a limited number of seats.


FIELD: Understandably a lot of frustrated passengers out there, 3,800 flights were canceled yesterday, 2,600 canceled today, more expected to come. No matter where you're headed to, if you don't want to spend hours or days at the airport, Kate, you certainly do want to check ahead.

BOLDUAN: Alexandra Field. Thank you so much, Alexandra. Also new this morning, it is back to business in Washington with the president and Congress returning today to what could be the first big battle of the New Year. More than a million people lost their long-term unemployment benefits over the holidays and President Obama is vowing to start a fight to get them back.

Senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is live with much more on this story. A new year, new fight, it seems -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's right, Kate. After a rocky 2013 but a restful two-week vacation in Hawaii, President Obama has a chance for a fresh start here in Washington, but he also has a new fight on his hands over the economy.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Back from vacation in paradise, President Obama found a chill in the Washington air and the president will soon learn if he can thaw his frosty relations with Congress as the White House pushes to extend emergency unemployment benefits. Some Republicans in Congress are open to a deal with caveats.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I'm not opposed to unemployment insurance. I am opposed to having it without paying for it. I think it's wrong to borrow money from China or simply print up money for it.

ACOSTA: Same goes for House Speaker John Boehner whose office signaled he would support it as long as it offset with more cuts.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: We have never offset emergency spending. It's foolishness. We have people who are desperate.

ACOSTA: The Obama administration is gearing up to an all-out campaign as part of the president's pledge to fight income inequality.

GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We as country, never have we cut off emergency unemployment benefits when long-term employment has been this high.

ACOSTA: This week the president will host unemployed Americans at the White House. Democrats already eyeing the upcoming mid-term election and a contrast with Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to show themselves so far out of the mainstream.

ACOSTA: But the president and Democrats have their own worries namely Obamacare and just how the program's newly insured like their coverage in the coming weeks.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's something I think the American people are rejecting in large numbers. I think it's going to hurt the president and hurt the country and a lot of families.


ACOSTA: As for the move to extend those unemployment benefits for long term jobless, the Senate is scheduled to have a test vote after a key economic vote on the president's pick to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, Jim. We have another troubling headline this morning. The situation in Iraq seems to be destabilizing. The big question is what does that mean for us? Secretary of State John Kerry says America is ready to help, but no boots on the ground. How will we help? And does this return to violence mean that all that U.S. blood and treasure spent in Iraq was for not? Let's get to Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon. This was the fear, Barbara, am I right?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, I think there's no question about it. This is not, Iraq, however, of 2003. What kind of help could the U.S. give? Well, there are already intelligence sharing and arms sales. Look for more of that. Why is Kerry saying no U.S. troops at all?

Well, that is off the table, of course, because two years ago the Iraqi prime minister said he didn't want U.S. troops there anymore so the U.S. withdrew. The question is how to deal with what is happening there right now. This is up in far western Iraq, near the Syria border, Sunni tribesmen battling with al Qaeda. The Shia-backed government trying to reassert any kind of control that is not going well.

Why is this so vital to U.S. national security? Well, what you're seeing in Western Iraq now is the re-emergence of al Qaeda. This is another seam in the Middle East where al Qaeda is beginning to operate unchallenged, training camps are there. It's right next to Syria where they are going in. This becomes a key national security concern.

A new generation of al Qaeda terrorists on the rise in this part of the Middle East, training, financing the ability to carry out attacks and very little really that the U.S. is going to able to do about it other than try to support the Iraqi government. This may be very tough going -- Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right, Barbara Starr on the story for us. Thanks, Barbara.

PEREIRA: Yes, another security concern topping our newscast right now. Good morning, everyone. New this morning, Afghanistan set to release 88 prisoners even though the United States considers them dangerous and wants them kept behind bars. These inmates are being held at a jail in the Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, a prison run by the U.S. until it was transferred recently to Afghan control. The head of an Afghan review board says there's no evidence to keep those inmates incarcerated.

Breaking overnight, Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy is out of the California hospital. Oakland's Children Hospital saying it released her body to the coroner who then turned it over to her mother. The family says it is closer to securing the teen's relocation. In fact, a New York facility has said it has been named as a potential place to provide long-term care for Jahi.

A frantic attempt to escape a violent fire Manhattan ends in tragedy. Flames shot out of the 20th floor windows of this high rise on Sunday and spread to two higher floors, 27-year-old newlywed, Daniel McClung (ph) and his husband were found in a stairwell overcome by smoke. McClung later died. His husband is recovering, and the cause of that fire is under investigation.

Happening today, the Senate is set to vote on Janet Yellen's nomination to become chair of the Federal Reserve. She is expected to get the required backing, which is a simple a majority of 51 votes. She would become the first woman to head the central bank. Ben Bernanke's term expires at the end of this month.

And this just in to CNN, German Angela Merkel injured while cross country skiing over the weekend. We're told she has a fracture. The German authorities are not releasing details other than saying the chancellor will be canceling some of her commitments and will need aid walking over the next few weeks.

Also new this morning: Pope Francis celebrating the epiphany at the Vatican, marking the wise men's visitation of Jesus. In his homily, he called on the faithful to be like the star the wise men followed, showing people the right path in life.

The pope announced Sunday he will be traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in May. This will be the pope's first trip to the Holy Land.

CUOMO: Big trip for him and for those who were into pope watch, Pope Francis is getting a will of people going. Even this, even the way he celebrated, the epiphany, not usually an emphasis for the Catholic Church, comes 12 days after Christmas and is about the feast and all this but usually not a point of concentration. He gave it a lot of respect. That means he's reaching out to other Christian groups that ordinarily the Catholic Church separated themselves from.

BOLDUAN: And that's kind of a theme throughout, what we've seen from him so far.

PEREIRA: Can we give a round of applause to the return of Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo?


CUOMO: Good to be here. Good to be here.

PEREIRA: Happy New Year.


PEREIRA: Where have you been?

BOLDUAN: We finally slept. And now, we know what our names are.

CUOMO: Yes. I'll give you a hint, the epiphany will be (INAUDIBLE).



CUOMO: It really is great to be here with you.

BOLDUAN: We are happy to be back.

CUOMO: Welcome to everybody. Let's take a little break.

BOLDUAN: Let's do that.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: first on CNN, the latest in Liz Cheney's bid to become the next senator from Wyoming, why there is no chance for that happening now.

And you know this is the time of year you start hearing about the flu, but we're telling you about it for a reason. You got worry about younger people this year. It's not just about people 65 years and older. We'll tell you what the strain is, why that matters, information, you'll want to hear.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Breaking overnight: Liz Cheney dropping out of the Wyoming Senate race. The story was first reported on CNN. The oldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney was trying to unseat Republican Senator Mike Enzi. And after a sometimes rocky campaign that included a pretty public dispute with her own sister over same-sex marriage, Cheney is expected is dropping -- is expected to drop to abandon for Senate bid.

Let's bring in EARLY START anchor John Berman with much more on the story. And we are learning more just this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, EARLY START ANCHOR: Yes, in fact, just a few minutes ago, a statement published by ?Politico? from Liz Cheney explains her departure from the race. Let me read it to you right now, "Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well being will always be my overriding priority."

Now, we do not know the details of this health issue that she's keeping of. And our thoughts are certainly with her and her family, whatever they are going through. But this is a campaign that had a lot of issues right from the beginning. A lot of people were shocked she got in in the first place.

BOLDUAN: And it wasn't just name recognition. The fact that she is a big political name that people were watching this campaign. It was a rocky campaign.

BERMAN: Political name in Washington, where she has led for the last several years. One of the big issues was her residency. Of course, her father was a congressman from Wyoming, a very long time ago. Liz Cheney had ties to that state. But she's lived in Virginia and D.C., where she's worked in the administration. A lot of people said she was a carpet-bagger when she went back to run against the seat.

And she was also running against a conservative. A guy who had a rock solid conservative record Mike Enzi. A lot of people thought it was strange to begin with that she was getting in the race. And then, of course, there was the family dynamics.

BOLDUAN: And the family dynamics were really overshadowed when she was trying to get her voice out there, not just being known as former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter.

BERMAN: Well, the big issue wasn't she was Dick Cheney's daughter, but she was Mary Cheney's sister. Liz's sister Mary is gay. You can see them there together in fact. Mary and Liz had a very public battle on Facebook over the issue of same-sex marriage. In the campaign, Liz came out against same-sex marriage and this upset Mary very much, and Mary's partner. They went to Facebook to criticize Liz very, very directly.

And it wasn't even clear -- actually, it was very clear they would not support her candidacy as long as she opposed same-sex marriage. The Cheneys, Dick and Lynn Cheney, the parents -- they got involved saying they supported their daughter Liz in her efforts in the campaign, even though they're supporters of same sex marriage. It was a very public battle that was playing out for the entire world to see. Unclear the status of that family battle, what is clear is the Senate campaign is now over.

BOLDUAN: And we're at CNN obviously working to confirm the same statement that "Politico" has that there are serious health issues in her family. And we'll be looking into that as well.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John.

CUOMO: All right. Everybody, it is "Money Time."

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with the situation, can the bulls continue to run or is the change of year bringing new challenges for us?

Let's dump it into the lap of the woman who knows. What do you think?


After blowing out 2013, the markets have a lot to live up to. Look at this -- the Dow was up 27 percent, the NASDAQ up 38 percent, the S&P 500 up 30 percent.

You had a great year in your 401(k), but can it last?'s latest survey of 30 investment strategies, on average, they expected the S&P 500 to rise a much more tame 6 percent. While that's healthy, it's a far cry from last year. That's the biggest question on Wall Street.

What will cost you more in 2014? Here are five things courtesy of that will cost you more this year.

Nuts. Blame bad weather. Chocolate, blame growing demand around the world. Honey, blame dwindling bee populations, mail will be more expensive. Big hike coming January 26. And rent, better economy, guys, higher rent.

And check this out -- this is not a new video game. It's a new dashcam that General Motors says is the first of its kind. It pulls together video and driving performance data that can even be shared on social media. This will be in the 2015 Corvette Stingray, Chris. I'll just pick one up for your birthday.

CUOMO: Yes, no back seat sadly.

BOLDUAN: That is some interesting technology.

BERMAN: No room for car seats in the Corvette Stingray for some reason.

CUOMO: I like the speed on that thing. This is like a ticket to get arrested, that's what this is.

BOLDUAN: The authorities have access to that dash cam.

CUOMO: Of course they will. I can't wait to do that story.

BOLDUAN: I had no idea there was a dash cam tracking my speed at over 100 miles an hour.

CUOMO: Facebook page 127, not good for you.

Thanks, Christine.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY: the flu is spreading, now affecting half of the country with young people among those most at risk. Yes, it's flu season. But what you need to do to try and stay healthy this season.

CUOMO: And have you heard this story about the plane. It flipped after landing in Aspen, Colorado.

Deadly consequences, there's a big question coming out of it. Why did this happen? We'll take you through it.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Right now, we are tracking this historic deep freeze that is threatening over half the nation. It's a polar vortex, also known as an arctic cyclone sending wind-chills in parts of the country plunging to 60 below. Take a look at the map for yourself, 56 below in Duluth.

This is the kind of cold that can kill people so we have to take it very seriously.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons tracking the extreme weather for us.

What do we see in there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, that's one of the things we're talking about. It's a particularly dangerous situation. This is something we normally talk about with severe weather and we talk about tornadoes. We don't typically hear this for temperatures this cold. But that is what we're dealing with today. One of the things, I can to want to apply -- how can this affect you out there today? Look at the temperature that motor oil freezes, 15 degrees.

So, this could be a problem today if you say, hey, at least I have anti-freeze. Not when you're looking at temperatures at negative 65. That is the potential we're looking at today. So, antifreeze freezes about negative 35 degrees. You also know about tire pressure. You see that warning when it gets cold out? Well, that's just the pressure itself. But the seals on the tires, they actually break themselves once you get those subzero temperatures.